Starting a Business in Balfour

The Balfour lifestyle is also a pretty wonderful work environment.

And, starting a business is going to involve your own bootstraps and a lot of sweat.

Here’s some local information to smooth the road a little.

The Balfour and District Business & Historic Association should be your first source of information when you are contemplating starting a business in our community. Talk to the people who live here, work here, and play here. The mandate of our Chamber is to promote and improve trade and commerce and the economic, civic, and social welfare of the district.  Balfour is open for business, and looking forward to talking to you about yours!

The Regional District of Central Kootenay is an excellent source of information about starting up a business in our area.

The British Columbia Regional Index provides an extensive and detailed socio-economic profile of British Columbia on a regional basis.

Tables and charts have all been revised using 2001 Census data. The narrative sections are being updated regularly as data become available. Go to REGIONS. Click on #4 and check out CENTRAL KOOTENAY. You will find information on Balfour as well as Nelson, Castlegar, Creston, New Denver, etc.

ABOUT BALFOUR

In Balfour, we have a well-stocked grocery store, bakery, service and gas station, restaurants, a couple of pubs, gifts shops and more. There are more than 60 businesses in Balfour and District!

Balfour has a fire hall and medical clinic close by.

There is a hospital in Nelson as well as ambulance service.

Close to Balfour is Redfish Elementary School

A bus is available to Nelson (#10 North Shore). For information on Nelson North Shore Transit Service, Bus Schedules, Routes, Fares and Reservations, call: 250-352-8201.

The Castlegar Airport services Vancouver and Calgary.

The City of Nelson has a small municipal airport for private planes.

Labour Force

Many people move to our area because of the lifestyle and safety of the area. More and more people would like to leave the big cities and the rat race to work in a safe and undisturbed environment such as ours! If you offer a job, people will come.

Most of our businesses are small and don’t need a large labour force. Many of our high school grads come back to work summer jobs. Most of them would love to come back for good if they could find a permanent job.

To find out more about available labour and self-employment please contactwww.futures.bc.ca. You also might contact Selkirk College to learn more about student work programs.

Real Estate

Several real estate agents serve our area. For the past three years prices have gone up considerably for residential and commercial properties – people from all over North America and Europe have discovered our area and want to make it their home.

To learn more about your real estate options please visit www.mls.ca.

Here are some of the real estate agents serving our area:

www.businesshub.ca/BC-Real-Estate/Nelson/NelsonCity.html

Recreation

Balfour is known for its excellent recreational opportunities. We have an 18-hole golf course, a par-3 course, and fishing, boating, hiking, biking, sailing,  swimming, skiing, snow-mobiling, cross-country skiing, and the list goes on and on.

The Balfour Recreation Commission is mandated to provide affordable recreation facilities within the Balfour area, and manages the following facilities:

Balfour Golf Course

Tennis Courts – free

Sportsfield – soccer & softball bookings

Fitness Centre – by membership

Boat Ramp – free

Community Hall – available for rent

Seniors Hall – by membership

Cemetery

GENERAL TIPS ABOUT STARTING A BUSINESS

Find your niche

Like many entrepreneurs in a small community, you must decide which economic level and geographic community you’ll serve. For example, you may choose to provide after-school care, or open a fitness facility for baby boomers. Look for an underserved niche–one in which there’s not a long list of entrenched competition–and then do some research to determine if it represents a viable market for you. If you encounter large numbers of competitors in every market area, it will be your job to position your business against them and create your own unique niche with an innovative business concept and list of services.

Follow your heart

Consider the role you plan to play in your new business. Do you enjoy being hands-on or is administration more to your liking? Think about the structure of each type of business you might start. Running a summer camp and overseeing counselors and student activities, for instance, might cast you in more of an administrative role than would a small home-based daycare center.

Build a financial model

Each of the businesses you’re thinking about starting will have different capital investment requirements, sales potential, and profit margins. How much do you plan to invest in your new business? Can you qualify for a business loan or other financial assistance? And what are your personal financial goals? Build hypothetical financial models for several of your business concepts and compare them. Take into consideration the difference in start-up costs between founding an exercise gym and providing after-school care, for example. Then look at the sales and net profit potential for each after expenses for the facilities, staff, and equipment are factored in.

Pros and cons of part- and full-time businesses

Whether you decide to start a business part time or full time depends on your goals, your priorities and how comfortable you are living with unpredictability.

Both part-time and full-time commitments have their pros and cons. For example, starting a part-time business will mean less risk (in some ways), but it requires more patience and perseverance since it will probably take a bit longer to get your business going. On the other hand, starting full time will potentially speed up development of your business, but will require a higher level of commitment from you since more of your time will be focused on its success.

It really depends on how comfortable you are with the different aspects that should be considered. For example, if you view health insurance and a regular paycheck as nonnegotiable items, you might be more comfortable working part time while maintaining a normal full-time job. This strategy might mean less pressure than working full time on a fledgling project and could be less stress-inducing until your business gets properly underway.

Your choice of working full time or part time is also dependent on how certain you are of your business’s success. Is your business going to be an instant success (realistically), or is it in a field where it will take time to build networks, customers, and other similar groups? Or do you feel that you’ve already done this and are ready to hit the ground running? If you think you’ve already developed a good support network, then full time might be the way to go. If you haven’t, then perhaps it’s safer to start part time.

However, if you’re chomping at the bit and ready to get going with your own business–and can tolerate a little unpredictability in your life–perhaps full-time would be the way to go. Since this will directly affect your family as well, it would probably be advisable to get your spouse involved in some of the decision-making. By doing so, your spouse might also start to get interested in your business and support you at the same time. Since the success of your business will obviously affect both (or all) of you, it only seems to make sense to involve your family in the earlier decisions.

No matter which avenue you choose, try to remain flexible in regard to the future. Things might not work out the way you plan them, and it’s always a good idea to have a “Plan B” to fall back on whether that means going to full time or part time. Life is unpredictable at the best of times, so try to be prepared.

Ultimately, the decision should rest on your comfort level of predictability–how comfortable are you (and your family through default) with irregular paychecks? Do you have a plan to handle the inevitable moment when there is a gap between paychecks?

Understanding the Financing Stages

To begin to understand the terms describing the different fundraising stages, think of the new venture on a timeline. On the far left end of the timeline is the date the idea was created and the business model conceived. The company then moves along from left to right as the idea gains credibility and forward momentum. Along the way are various milestones in the life of the enterprise, and several of these are funding benchmarks.

The first funding benchmark is the seed stage. This represents the initial capital used to do product and/or service development, market surveys and research, and business partner recruitment. The emphasis is on examining business idea feasibility and getting the firm ready to commence operations. These funds come predominantly from either the entrepreneur’s personal savings, a severance package from a prior job, or cash raised from friends and family members. Many venture capital funds do not invest at the seed stage because the risks are very high.

The second benchmark comes when the venture is ready to launch. Also known as start-financing, at this stage the business is seeing its first revenues but has yet to show a profit. This is often referred to as the series A round of investment and is typically where the enterprise brings in its first “outside” investors.

After a successful launch proves the viability of the business model, funds will be needed to further develop the marketing plan, hire staff and perhaps management, and establish strategic alliances in the market. That third benchmark is often referred to as the second-stage, or series B, round.  For the purposes of talking to investors, the first round of external funds should generally be called series A and the second external round series B. This way, each subsequent round of external investors knows where they stand with respect to prior investors who go in post-seed.

The fourth benchmark involves securing a line of credit from a commercial bank at a time when revenues are gaining momentum. At this point–when monthly cash flow is at break-even–the business merits “working capital.” No investors are involved at this point.

Remember that at each stage, the firm will need to be valued, and too many rounds can overly dilute the founders’ stakes in the venture. The key is to know your growth track, determine your sales and profit benchmarks, and be shrewd when it comes to valuing each stage.

Good luck, follow your heart, do your research, and let us know if we can help!